Cool Tech Tools: Google Drive

googledrive Google Drive, which used to be called Google Docs, is a great way to collaborate with team members and stakeholders that are in a different location than you are. Here’s a quick introduction (or refresher) on how to use this powerful collaboration tool.

Google Drive is a browser-based application that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents that reside in the cloud. They can easily be shared with others, and both of you can see and edit the document at the same time.

Using Google Drive

To get started, you’ll need to have (or set up) a Google account. If you have a gmail account, you can use it. Log in to your gmail or Google account, and at the top right corner of your screen, you will see a square made up of nine small squares. You can click on it and select Google Drive.   Alternately, you can go to

Time to Create

Once you’re on the Google Drive main page, you’ll see a large red CREATE button on the top left. Click it to create your first Google document. Select among the choices of spreadsheet, document, presentation, and more. Give the document a title, and start editing. The commands are very similar to Microsoft Office®, so there’s no learning curve.

Time to Share

When you are viewing a document, you’ll see a blue SHARE button on the top right side of your screen. Click it to enter the email address of a person you’d like to have see and/or edit the document.

You can tell who else is viewing the document at the same time you are because you’ll see a colored box and perhaps their picture on the top right side. You can also tell where their cursor is in the document; it will show up in another color.

As you create documents, you will see your list growing under My Drive. If someone else created the document and shared it with you, you’ll see it under Shared With Me.

So Many Uses

Here are a couple of ideas on how you can use Google Drive.

  • As a bulletin board for your employees or customers
  • For status reports on projects
  • As a to-do list when multiple team members are involved – they can check off the items as they go
  • As a collaborative note-taker when you’re brainstorming with another person
  • With a client when you need to explain part of a document – you can copy and paste from Word or Excel to Google Drive (but check to make sure everything came over)

Google Drive is great for productivity and makes communications easier. Try it and let us know how you use it.

What’s Your Opportunity Number?

opportunity number mandy cohenIs your revenue increasing or decreasing every year? There are many factors that can cause your revenue to slide, and one of them I’d like to introduce is your opportunity number.

Your opportunity number is the smallest amount of business you’re willing to take on when you take on a new client. Here’s an example: if you have a ten-hour minimum per client engagement and your hourly rate is $300.00, then your opportunity number is $3,000.00.

Going after a business opportunity that is too small could actually cause your company to lose money on the initial sale. Since our limited resource is time, we can either spend our time going after small fish or big fish. If we want our business to grow, we need to let go of the small fish. In our example above, it’s not worth it to you to sign up a new client for less than $3,000.00.

Define your own opportunity number

The first action item is to set your opportunity number if you don’t already have one. Take a look at your average annual revenue per client for last year or the last twelve months. Continuing our example, let’s say it’s $10,000.00/client. You always want to be striving to increase your average annual revenue per client year after year, in most cases.

Your opportunity number and your revenue per client are related in an important way. If your opportunity number is too low, it can drag down your revenue per client average. That means it’s going in the wrong direction.

Evaluate your opportunity number

If your opportunity number is too high, you may be walking away from business that could be profitable after a period of time. It’s possible once you build trust after doing a small engagement that the client will come back for more. So it’s important to factor in the potential.

If you have a sales team, you may have a different opportunity number for each sales person and yourself. They may have more time to pursue a larger number of smaller deals. If you have lots of leads and less time, then you want to find a way to work on the largest opportunities by qualifying those leads, estimating the potential revenue, and comparing that to your opportunity number.

Once you implement your opportunity number, you might free up quite a bit of time. You’ll have more time to go after the larger opportunities while giving yourself permission to “throw the small fish back in the pond.”

Seizing the opportunity

There’s nothing wrong with taking your opportunity number a step further and proactively seeking power clients and deals that will net far more than your opportunity number. Hard to imagine, but some businesses have an opportunity number of $1 million. What’s your number?

Let us know if we can help you calculate yours.

I’m Dreaming of My Ideal Clients for 2012

If you could wave a magic wand and work with any client you wanted in 2012, who would they be and what would your business look like? It’s a fun exercise to think about right as we start a new year.

Let’s begin with your current client base. You may want to create a report of customers that you had in 2011 and list them by revenue collected. Who are your top revenue-producing clients? Are they easy to work with? Do you love the work you are doing with them? If so, you may want to find out a little bit about the type of client you enjoy working with so that you can find more of them in 2012.

Are they male or female? In a particular industry? Have a particular personality trait? Enjoy the same hobbies you do? Have kids? Are they from your alma mater? Do they live in a certain neighborhood that you enjoy?

Look to see if your top clients have characteristics in common. You are beginning to make a picture of who you best work with.

The questions are endless, and you may need to ask quite a few of them before you stumble on what your top clients might have in common. Perhaps they are all dog lovers, pilots, or football fans. Perhaps they have all been in business for less than five years. Perhaps they are all transplanted from the south. Once you see the connection, you will have some freedom and a clear direction to find more people just like them.

Also take a look at what services you like to deliver best. Once you’ve been in business for a while, you may have some work that’s not your favorite, but you keep doing it for one reason or another. In 2012, think about how you can proactively attract clients that need the type of work you love to do. Work that challenges you, is interesting, and is profitable will keep you from burning out. Plus, it will help your entire business and your other clients to seek clients that energize you because you will be happier.

Start by creating another report that shows you revenue by service or product line. What would the ideal 2012 mix be if you could wave your magic wand again?

The intersection of your ideal client and your ideal service/product revenue mix is the sweet spot you want to aim for in 2012.

It’s a simple exercise, yet a very powerful one. As the holidays wind to a close, take a deep breath, wave your magic wand, and think about what would really fulfill you as a business entrepreneur. Then take the first step to creating a business full of the ideal client and ideal work of your dreams.

From a Dysfunctional Family? What’s Your Story?

I have always prided myself on being an open book. From the time I was a teenager, I was not inhibited in the least about broadcasting the goings-on in my family (to the horrors of my mother). As an adult, I continued to replay these tales. “My parents did this wrong”. “My parents did that wrong”. “My mother was a screamer and a drama queen.”  My father was a dreamer and a control freak.” No wonder I couldn’t achieve my highest goals, I was from a dysfunctional family and it was all my parents’ fault.

What a crock of bull! Even though I long ago grew beyond retelling these stories, I realize that they can still sit underneath the surface sabotaging us. It’s the stuff we tell ourselves when were scared, when were worried about covering the bills before the next payday, when we don’t know the answer to a problem or when we’re faced with opportunities but are frozen in fear to act. These stories we weave don’t serve us, they never really did.

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Chet Holmes has Leukemia

Chet Holmes is one of my favorite mentors. He wrote the book The Ultimate Sales Machine, which I highly recommend to anyone in business. I received an email yesterday from Mitch Russo, President of Business Breakthroughs International saying that Chet was just recently diagnosed with Leukemia. His white blood count was at 178,000 (normal is 4,000 to 11,000). The doctors, of course, want to start him on Chemo as soon as possible. Chet, known for his pig-headed determination, decided to use his mind and spirit and the collective power of the universe to turn this around. Using the Internet to take his message viral, he got thousands of people praying for him. That was on Sunday. By Monday, his blood count was normal. Is that not awesome?

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The Top Three Hiring Mistakes

By Guest Author Michael Mills

A carefully constructed  job description can be a powerful interviewing and employee development tool.Did you know that the average “bad hire” costs a company $60,000 in wasted compensation and training time! And that doesn’t include lost customers and upset prospects.  I’ve found that business owners repeatedly make the same mistakes in their hiring process – if they even have a hiring process.  Here are three key hiring mistakes:

1. Hiring Reactively. Almost all hiring mistakes stem from hiring in a crisis. Although it may seem like a waste of time to engage in a formal recruitment and hiring process, especially if you know someone who seems to fit the bill, hiring without a strategy almost always leads to frustration, disappointment and wasted expense.

Taking time to outline a job description, advertise the position and interview people and assess them based on their ability to fulfill on the position yields a much higher success rate. Although you may know someone who is smart or helpful, can he or she really contribute to your organization more productively than other candidates on the market?

2. Sugarcoating the Position. Often the first positions we hire others to fill are those we don’t like to do ourselves. Our dislike for the job may show during the interview process.

In the early days of my business, for example, I wanted to hire a telemarketer to make calls all day – something no one in my organization liked to do. When candidates came to interview, I explained that if they did a good job they could grow into other roles in the organization. In essence, I sugarcoated the position by focusing on the growth potential of the position and not the requirements of the job itself. In three years, I went through four employees in this position! When I stopped sugarcoating the position and started outlining it honestly, I began to attract the right people for the job. Believe it or not, some people actually like telemarketing.

3. Hiring “Professionals.” Another mistake business owners commonly make is to hire the “professional”, someone with years of experience in a role. A seasoned professional typically commands a high salary and may resist being trained in the processes you’ve worked hard to develop and fine tune. Instead, find a candidate with the right qualities and skills for the job and who is open to being trained and managed.

Surefire Steps to Hiring Success

Here are a few steps to help you maximize your investment in hiring, training and retaining top employees.

1. Outline a Growth Strategy. If you haven’t already done so, formulate a clear vision of where you’d like your company to “go”. Once you’ve done this, you can identify what people you need to make your vision a reality.

Next, Create an organizational chart of your future company and ask yourself; “When will I need to hire someone next and in what position?” Once you’ve answered that, ask yourself; “What do I need to have in place to hire that person?”

If it’s a salesperson, for example, you’ll need a job description and a set of systems to help the person do the job well – including systems for lead generation and sales conversion. In addition, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the initial salary offer and the maximum amount you can pay this person to support your profitability model. Identifying the maximum figure lets you know not only where the salary will top out but how to structure a raise and incentive plan for points along the way.

2. Develop Comprehensive Job Descriptions. How do you know whether a candidate will excel at the job? See how well the person measures up against an objective, detailed job description.

To create a job description, list the tasks that comprise the job, the objective of each task and what the employee will be accountable for producing. Then, turn the job description into an interviewing tool by also identifying the qualities, skills and experience a candidate would need to succeed in performing the tasks listed in the job description. As you interview each candidate, evaluate the interviewee according to this set of criteria.

3. Use the Job Description as a Training Checklist. Once you’ve hired the right candidate, don’t toss the job description! Instead, turn it into a training checklist to ensure that your new hire has an understanding of your company’s systems to excel at each and every task. Without a documented training process, employees typically retain about 18 percent of what you tell them. By turning the job description into a training checklist, you are setting up your new hire to meet or exceed your expectations.

At Business Design Corporation, Michael assists owners and managers in developing their business into one that can run smoothly, efficiently and reliably. Their tools and programs will help you build a process dependant business – one in which you are in control. If you would like more information on how to find and keep loyal employees who do what they’re expected to do because they understand what is expected of them, you can call them at (888) 522-2325 or find them on-line at

Want to finally get the freedom you started your business for in the first place? More here:

How to Kill Your Business in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Do everything yourself so you can save money
  2. Keep working In your business instead of On your business
  3. Ignore sales & marketing because you’re so busy paying your bills
  4. Too busy trying to get the product/service out the door to look at the numbers

When you’re an entrepreneur in the beginning, it is often necessary to wear many hats. But there comes a time when you are going to just keep spinning your wheels if you don’t delegate some of the functions in your business. Do you ever find yourself saying any of these things:

  • I need to focus on sales and marketing to grow my business, but the bookkeeping keeps me busy for hours
  • I hate doing the bookkeeping, but if I delegate it to someone else, I can’t be sure it’s being done right
  • I’m not sure what my payables or receivables are at any given moment
  • The only way I know how much money I have is to go online to my bank account
  • There’s no way I can do any financial forecasting because I am either way behind in my bookkeeping or not comfortable with the numbers
  • I can’t afford a full-time bookkeeper

Well, maybe you’re beyond that now. Maybe you have hired someone to do your bookkeeping …your admin person. How’s that working for you?

Do yourself a favor. Turn some of those bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities over to people you can trust to get the job done right. Leverage your admin/bookkeeper’s effort with guidance and supervision from the trained professionals at Cohen Consulting Group. Quit running your business from the seat of your pants. With timely and accurate reporting, you can make more informed decisions about your business.  And the time saving benefits will allow you to focus on what you do best.

Don’t wait. Contact us now for more information.





Your Questions, Your Money

In my view, the very best program on TV today for ANY business is Your Questions, Your Money on the Fox Business Network. It’s on Saturday mornings from 7:00am to 11:00am PT. Yes, I know, who has 4 hours to spend watching TV on a Saturday morning? The sad truth is that most of us do watch 4 hours or more of TV every evening, a lot of which is totally useless. But I digress.

The show features guest experts who address callers questions. The first two hours of the program general covers personal finances, investing, taxes, IRAs etc. The second two hours are dedicated to business; marketing, selling, growing, running, financing, inventing, you name it. I tape the show each week and watch parts of it through out the following week as time permits. I always pick up new ideas or insights.

You don’t get the Fox Business Network? Well, don’t despair. shows one-hour episodes from the show. They don’t have all the shows but they have some great episodes. Go look at Saturday, December 5, 2009 with Gary Vaynercheck before they take it down. He’s awesome.

The world of business is changing rapidly. Your Questions, Your Money will keep you informed and inspired.





Rich, Happy & Hot-Sounds OK to me

Last week a few of my clients and I sat down to watch Tony Robbins interview Marie Forleo, a best-selling author, speaker, Nike Athlete & Master Trainer, dancer/choreographer.. Oh hell, let’s just cut to the chase, an incredible, diversely successful female entrepreneur known for being “Rich, Happy & Hot”. She has so much to teach all of us business owners (not just women entrepreneurs). One of the pearls I gleaned from her was that confidence is over-rated. In fact she flat out said “Get over wanting to feel confident.” She tells us to take an action and bypass the feeling of lack of confidence. So after months of knowing I needed to start a blog, here I am doing it.